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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are You Cut Out For This?

I’m back from Africa and finally back to blogging. I intended to write more during my time in Uganda but most nights I just couldn’t gather my thoughts. I’ve been to Africa before. My husband travels to Uganda several times a year. At any given time, we have close friends over there. I’ve heard the stories in detail, I’ve seen the pictures, I’ve done it before -- and I thought I was prepared for this trip. But I wasn’t.

Honestly, I still cannot believe some of the things I saw with my own eyes. I am literally in awe of the incredible men and women who live in Uganda and serve in this mission field, day in and day out. It’s a rough gig and not everyone is cut out for this kind of challenging, long term mission work.

Remember Kelsey and Kirby? They’re the SixtyFeet interns living and working in Uganda for the next year. Several months ago, I posted a giveaway on my blog to help them raise the last bit of their financial support.

If you are one of the precious donors who helped close the gap for these girls – who donated your money and made it possible for them to serve in Uganda with SixtyFeet, then I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am blown away by these girls and overwhelmed by their contributions to our ministry. This week, I found myself constantly wondering what we ever did without them.

To demonstrate my point, I could share many stories from my time in Uganda. But this is the one that truly stands out…

On Monday of this week our team served at M1, doing the usual stuff. We lead a worship, prayer and teaching time for the children, our nurses conducted a medical clinic, our counselors talked with the children, Colleen, Kelsey, Kirby and I played beach volleyball, colored pictures, read stories and spent lots of time hugging, cuddling, laughing and just being together.

By mid-afternoon we packed up and were heading to the car, just about to leave. When Brenda, one of the older girls from M, fell into a horrible epileptic seizure. She’d fallen on the dirt road just in front of us and a crowd of children had already gathered around her.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Kelsey and Kirby ran to her. They threw themselves into the dirt and amazingly knew just what to do. As Brenda seized wildly, drooled, vomited and bled from the cuts from her fall, our girls maintained great composure. Kelsey turned her head to the side to keep her from choking on her tongue. Kirby lightly rubbed her back and spoke to her gently. I ran for our nurses, still packing up supplies in the clinic.

Once the seizure had passed, Kelsey, Kirby, and some of the M staffers lifted Brenda and carried her into the clinic. By the way, don’t let the word “clinic” fool you. For most Americans, that word conjures images of a large, cheerfully painted, sanitary facility well staffed with doctors and nurses and stocked with supplies and medications. This was not that kind of clinic. It was hardly a place for a child who had just experienced a serious medical emergency. But it was the best we had available.

The team got Brenda inside and just as they laid her on the bed, another seizure began – this one worse than the last. She was grunting and gagging and gasping for air – and that was pretty much all I could take. Colleen tells me I turned white as a sheet and then positively green. I ran outside to throw up and when Colleen found me five minutes later, I was still hyperventilating in the courtyard. I’ve never fainted in my life. I’ve never had a panic attack or anything similar… but apparently this was too much for me.

Kelsey and Kirby handled it all so beautifully and took everything in stride. They stayed by Brenda’s side until she was seen by the doctor and then rushed with a social worker from M1 to pick up some medicine from the village clinic in the next town over.

This took so much extra time that we had to cancel our evening plans for that night – we’d been invited to visit another ministry, which included a boat ride on Lake Victoria. I know that Kelsey and Kirby were very much looking forward to their evening and time of brief respite, but they didn’t hesitate or complain for a second when their plans had to change.

These ladies know that God already has each day planned out for them and they are determined to live and love according to His plans for the day, and not their own. They’re meeting needs as the Lord presents them and no person is too insignificant to love or unworthy of their time and attention. And I cannot help but imagine how very pleased Jesus must be with these humble servants of His.

If you’re one of the donors who helped get Kelsey and Kirby to Uganda, or a regular donor who helps keep them there, SixtyFeet is truly thankful to you.

Both Kelsey and Kirby have recently started their own blogs. Please pop over here and here -- introduce yourself and follow along with them. You’ll be glad you did.


demp5 said...

I have already told other people with ministries in Uganda that they need to find treasures like these two. SixtyFeet is blessed to have them!

Naomi said...

Shelley I would be right behind throwing up too! I hate to see someone suffering in that way. What angels those girls are.... I shall hop over and check out their blogs!

Thank you for sharing the harsh realities.

Brian & Amy said...

OH NO!! Brenda? I really loved her!!! Praying!!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou, i am so encouraged to continue my own, very different, work, when i hear stories of faithful servants such as these x

Scott Fillmer said...

our team visited M1, M2, and M3 with the two K's about a week ago and yes, they were as amazing as your story tells, we felt very blessed to have been able to spend a few days with them.